LEG X FRET
Make Roma Great Again
ru | en

Legionnaire

Евсеенков А.С.

Attention! The text below was auto-translated from Russian. You can switch the site language to Russian to see the text in its original language or wait until it is fully translated.

Legionnaire (Latin legio, Gen. legionis — military collection, from lego and legere-collect) — a type of ancient heavy infantry, the basis of the army of the ancient Roman state. The main battle unit of the Legion. Legionnaires were recruited exclusively from citizens of the Roman state. Legionnaires were a kind of "universal soldiers": they had weapons not only for close combat — gladius, pugio and scutum, but also for long-range combat-pilums. Some historians call legionnaires "heavy skirmishers", once again emphasizing the importance of throwing weapons in the legionnaire's equipment.

Legionnaire's career

Promotion was largely determined by the military's bloodline. Many wealthy patricians did not start their service from the bottom, but immediately took command positions.

Ordinary citizens of the empire who entered the military service without bribes were expected to have rather modest career prospects.

The key to honor was valor and bravery on the battlefield. Josephus described how during the storming of Jerusalem, Roman soldiers competed with each other in bravery, "and each hoped that this day would be the beginning of his promotion, if he fought bravely." The general, in turn, promised promotions and honors to those who managed to be the first to climb the city wall.

As a rule, the most intelligent and strong legionnaires were first appointed to special positions. The most achievable status was that of dean, but it offered few advantages over ordinary legionnaires. The more privileged positions were the tesserary or frumentary. By showing outstanding abilities, a legionnaire could attract the attention of a centurion and become his deputy optio, which increased the salary and made the employee part of a small command staff. Optio could rise to the rank of centurion and remain on an increased salary in the Roman army after the end of the main service period. This title was extremely achievable for most of the empire's inhabitants. It should also be noted that there were a huge number of varieties of centurions that differed in the military hierarchy. The highest rank of a centurion was called primipilus - "first warrior of the legion". This was the last rank in terms of seniority, the bearer of which personally participated in combat operations. In rare cases, it was possible to get the post of head of the camp - Praefectus Castrorum. There are rare cases when prefects later became viceroys in small provinces. In most cases, the ranks of legates and other senior officers were held by members of wealthy Patrician families.

There was also the possibility of being transferred to the ala, the Roman cavalry, receiving first the position of scout (explorator), and then decurio (decurio). After serving in the ale, you could transfer back to the infantry for a higher position. In addition, there was a prospect of career advancement in the Znamenny group, where the most experienced veterans with higher salaries were taken. So, for example , vexillarii, imagoniferi, signiferi and other types of standard bearers could eventually rise to aquiliferi — one of the most important and responsible positions in the legion.

Legionnaire with bas-relief from Adamklisi, early 2nd century AD.
Tombstone of legionnaire Gaius Valerius Crispus, who served in the VIII Augustan Legion. Wiesbaden. First half of the first century AD
Legionnaire from Trajan's column, early 2nd century AD.

Legionnaires ' equipment

Legionnaire equipment for the period of 1-2 centuries AD could consist of the following elements::

Fabric / Leather products:

Metal protective equipment items:

Weapon:

Additional elements:

Not all of the above items of equipment were used necessarily and everywhere. For example, according to the images that have come down to us, legionnaires could be completely without armor. The manica and, in particular, the greaves were not widely used (the latter are characteristic of the later armament of legionnaires of the early 2nd century). The same goes for more basic equipment items, such as braks and subarmalis.

Reconstruction

You should carefully choose your time period, as the equipment from the Republic period to the late Empire changed quite significantly. If we consider the most typical periods for ancient reconstruction in Russia (which our club also adheres to), then there are two most common images: a legionnaire of the second half of the 1st century AD and the first half of the 2nd century AD.. Their main differences are in the helmet, lorica (if the segmentata is used-corbridge in the legionnaire of the early period, newstead — late) and suspensories on the cingulum (in the uniform of the legionnaire of the 2nd century, they are much shorter, or even completely absent). A greave on the left leg is an attribute of a legionnaire of a later period.

There are also less obvious differences in armament: the pugio must be of the second type for a 1st-century legionnaire, and the third type for a 2nd-century AD legionnaire, while the Fulham-type gladius can only be used by a 1st-century legionnaire.

You should start creating an image with the simplest things that are included in the minimum set: tunic, shoes (kaligi/calcei), cingulum.

Mid-1st century Legionnaire, reconstruction
Legionnaire of the late 1st century, reconstruction
Legionnaire in civilian clothes set

Related topics

Legion, Auxilia, Penula, Sagum, Focale, Subarmalis, Tunic, Marriages, Subligaculum, Kaligi, Calcei, Lorica segmentata, Lorica squamata, Lorica hamata , Cingulum, Manika, Okrea, Pilum, Gladius, Full name, Scutum, Fibula, Liner, Socks

Literature

Vus O. V. Mobile grouping of the Roman army in Taurica at the end of the III-V centuries AD. 2016, Issue 8, pp. 357-376.

Dando-Collins, Stephen. Legions of Rome. The complete history of all legions of the Roman Empire / Translated from English by N. Y. Zhivlova.

Eliseev M. B. Remo-Macedonian wars. Legion against the phalanx. - Moscow: Veche, 2016. - 416 p.: ill. - Series "World History". — ISBN 978-5-4444-4926-4.

Zelinsky F. F. Roman Empire. - St. Petersburg: Aleteya, 2000. - 496 p — - ISBN 5-89329-071-2.

Cowan Ross. Roman legionnaires. 58 B.C.-69 A.D. / Translated from English by N. A. Fenogenova. - Moscow: OOO "AST", Astrel, 2005. - 72 p.: ill. - Series "Elite troops". — ISBN 5-17-027924-8.

Chris McNab. The Roman Army. The greatest military machine in history / Translated from English by V. L. Silaeva. - Moscow: Eksmo, 2014. - 272 p.: ill. - Series "Illustrated history of military art". — ISBN 978-5-699-74397-1.

Mattesini Silvano. Roman legions. All about the most powerful army of the Ancient world / Translated from Italian by I. E. Andronova. - Moscow: Astrel, 2012. - 216 p.: ill. — ISBN 978-5-271-38826-2.

Mattesini Silvano. Soldiers of Rome. 1000 years of history. Organization. Armament. Battles / Translated from Italian by I. E. Andronova, Moscow: OOO "AST"; OGIZ, 2013. - 216 p.: ill. - ISBN 978-5-17-081614-9.

Gallery

Bas-relief of the pedestals of the columns that decorated the courtyard in front of the complex of buildings of the headquarters (praetorium and principia) of the citadel of the other Roman city of Mogontiac (Latin Mogontiacum). "Land Museum", Mainz, Germany. Second half of the first century AD
Bas-relief of the pedestals of the columns that decorated the courtyard in front of the complex of buildings of the headquarters (praetorium and principia) of the citadel of the other Roman city of Mogontiac (Latin Mogontiacum). "Land Museum", Mainz, Germany. Second half of the first century AD
Bas-relief with a legionnaire. Landesmuseum-Mainz-D. Second half of the 1st century
Legionnaires in the ranks. Stone bas-relief from Glanum (Saint-Remy de Provence-F). Gallo-Roman Museum of Fourvières-Lyon, 1st-2nd century AD
Legionnaire with bas-relief from Adamklisi, early 2nd century AD.
Legionnaire with bas-relief from Adamklisi, early 2nd century AD.
Legionnaire with bas-relief from Adamklisi, early 2nd century AD.
Legionnaire with bas-relief from Adamklisi, early 2nd century AD.